What Is Violence Against Women?
It’s time to stand up to violence against women
November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. For all the odd holidays that the world celebrates—Cereal Day, Coffee Day, National Pig Day—this is one that definitely needs attention. In fact, it was issued way back in 1993 and it isn’t even odd at all.
The United Nations has named violence against women and girls (VAWG) as “one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations” there is. And yet, despite all these big words, it remains largely unreported (let alone discussed). You can blame it on the victim’s silence, blame it on society’s stigma or you can rightfully blame it on the people that actually do the crime. Whatever your opinion, the point is that it’s there.
In fear of going on a feminist rant (and consequently being bashed for said rant), let’s stick to the facts:
1 in 3
According to the World Health Organization, physical or sexual abuse against women happens in 1 out of 3 females. And before you question that, before you say something along the lines of “I have three female friends and they haven’t experienced anything,” consider this: 1) That just means there is a group of girls out there of which most (if not all of them) have experienced abuse and 2) Your friends might just be refusing to speak about it.
30% of partners
Most of the above mentioned instances are actually intimate partner violence. Worldwide, some 30 percent of women in relationships have reported experiencing some sort of violence, whether physical or sexual. Again, the keyword is reported.
650 million underaged marriages
UN Women estimates that there are 650 million women and girls around the world that are married before they turn 18.
Only 1% seek help
Around the world, there are 15 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 that have experienced forced intercourse or have been forced into any other sexual act. Among these rape cases, data presents that only one percent of victims ever sought professional help.
It goes beyond
Naturally, physical and sexual assault does more than bruise, break and batter. So yes, cuts, scrapes and black-and-blues can heal, but there is also the possibility of harming a woman’s mental and reproductive health. We aren’t talking about a week’s worth of pain here; we’re talking years of possible substance abuse, depression, eating disorders and anxiety. And, of course, there is the very possible outcome of spreading the violence. You act how you’re taught, after all. If you’re taught that love is a firm hand and force, you might end up believing it.
For the record
Just in case there’s any confusion, let us make it clear. Violence against women and girls is defined as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
The not-so-fine line
In fear of still being misunderstood, watch this: Sex, Y, Z series presents Yes Means Yes.
Before the stones are thrown, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women does not—in any damn way—negate or ignore the fact that men experience abuses, too. The Guardian reports that two in five victims of domestic abuse are, after all, men. Get off that horse; if you think that’s what we’re saying, you need to listen harder.
This year, the theme of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is Orange the World: #HearMeToo. From November 25 to December 10 (International Human Rights Day), there is a call to activism. So if you’re going to support an entire month of no shaving, then might as well join this damn movement, too.
Art Alexandra Lara